Listening at scale.

What does it take to create an organisation that truly listens in international development?

This question has been at the core of Africa's Voices mission in 2018, a pivotal year for our organisation during which we refined our unique citizen engagement and social evidence solutions and saw the potential of bottom-up, citizen-driven decision-making unfold in Kenya and Somalia.

Valuing voices

Like most, we believe it is essential to listen to citizens’ voices. We are here to help decision-makers - humanitarians and governments alike - design programmes that are grounded in people’s everyday realities. But whilst others in international development focus solely on citizen data, what we value the most is voices, especially the unique ones that allow for pulse-taking of real thoughts and opinions, focusing on engagement with - rather than extraction from - citizens.

Spotlight 2018

A glimpse on the work we delivered

1. Piloting an engagement platform to amplify youth voices (MasterCard Foundation)

We're piloting a youth engagement platform for MasterCard Foundation's Young Africa Works initiative. The platform has been used for diagnostic research of youth needs, as a channel for feedback for programme adaptation and for evaluating MasterCard Foundation’s programme impact.

2. Identifying Somali Citizen perspectives on humanitarian priorities in 2018 (REACH)

We delivered an innovative Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) intervention in Somalia, using our interactive radio methodology, to spark a wider discussion on the humanitarian situation and to gather feedback from Somali citizens to ensure their voices influence humanitarian planning processes.

3. Overcoming barriers to refugee girls' education in Kenya (WUSC)

Using community mobilisation, interactive radio shows and SMS audience participation we generated evidence on how to overcome social norms that present barriers to girls attending school in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in Northern Kenya.

Reasons to celebrate

Our key achievements in 2018

3. We have achieved the capabilities to listen to citizens at scale.

In 2018, we were able to fine-tune our software techniques to allow large scale rapid analysis of rich qualitative data and put it into practice as part of our work with REACH in Somalia. Our unique AI-powered software, CODA 2, allowed us to support Somali-speaking researchers to analyse complex messages received from 8,955 people on the humanitarian crisis in Somalia.

4. We are unleashing the power of interactive media to achieve gender equality and social inclusion in Somalia

We are excited to announce that the Somalia Stability Fund has invested $1 million in Africa's Voices to implement Imaqal, an intervention to promote greater equality and social inclusion through media in Somalia. Imaqal is our biggest project to date and we will deliver it in partnership with MediaINK.

We are building the innovation to enable 1-to-1 conversation channels with constituents at scale.

In our four years, we have developed unique expertise in interactive radio, our core offering. In 2019, we have made a commitment to expand our offering and unveil a brand new product – an accountability toolkit that uses a variety of open-ended SMS-survey techniques to consult and engage with citizens on a 1-to-1 basis.

  By enabling conversational, two-way exchange, we aim for programme constituents to feel consulted and included in decision-making. We have piloted this with both the MasterCard Foundation and UNICEF Somalia to design and test robust systems for gathering citizen evidence to drive more accountable participatory programming.